Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli hailed Arturo Vidal after the Juventus star shook off his UEFA Champions League hangover to help his country to an opening-game win in the Copa America.
Vidal scored the first goal of the 2015 Copa when he won and converted a penalty midway through the second half of the tournament hosts’ 2-0 Group A victory over Ecuador in Santiago.
Thursday’s game came just five days after Vidal played in Juve’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, with the 28-year-old completing the full 90 minutes despite his exertions in Berlin.
“If you told me how Arturo would play, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Sampaoli.
“After a complicated trip, he arrived just in time for the game with not much time to prepare. I don’t think he was happy with that, but during the game he was vital for us because he won the penalty and scored it.
“He was very important to us.”
Chile’s other stellar name, Alexis Sanchez, also put in an impressive display and laid on Chile’s late second goal for Eduardo Vargas.
“Despite being marked strongly, Alexis was always in control – creating a few chances and making the rivals feel uncomfortable,” Sampaoli added.
“I think Alexis will be one of the best players in the tournament.”
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